I’ve been searching for and researching organic mattresses for a few years now knowing that I would have to upgrade my youngest to a big bed eventually. Now that the time has come and passed, I wanted to let you in on the process of purchasing a brand new mattress that was as healthy as possible. There are so many things to consider when it comes to investing in an organic mattress. I’m also sharing the cleanest organic brand that we landed on after spending a lot of time looking into different brand options.
* This items in this post were gifted to me by Obasan after I contacted them personally. As always, I will only recommend brands that have passed my seal of approval and that I truly love. After testing these products for 60 days, this is my honest review. Thank you for supporting my little green space on the internet. *
I was left very surprised when I truly dug into certain brands of organic mattresses that are well known and heavily promoted. Many of them have gotten away with certain claims and hold specific certifications and consumers have no idea that they only have to hit certain quotas and percentages of “organic” and “natural” materials used to use those certifications. This is truly bothersome, considerinf buying a mattress is a fairly substantial investment for most people. Some brands are basically tricking consumers into thinking they are buying the best and safest option for their family but it’s not quite the case, this is a form of “greenwashing”.
The more I read and learn about natural mattress manufacturing, I have come to understand that many of the companies being promoted in the wellness world aren’t actually as safe as they are being marketed to be. I find this really unsettling and disheartening. Its one thing to make a blunder when purchasing a $40 beauty product but when you are investing hundreds to a couple thousand dollars in something like a mattress, you should be getting exactly what your dollar paid for.
I dug into so many brands and finally landed on one. It won by a landslide and I would probably never be able to opt for a different brand because they checked off all of my must haves. They are as clean and organic as you get and the company is truly incredible – Obasan Organic.
But let’s dig into The process of choosing a mattress first, and then I’ll explain why Obasan is the most natural and organic option available on the market today.
Why Should you Buy an Organic Mattress?
When swapping out your home with natural products, I’ve always said that it’s best to focus on the items that you use the most. When you think about it, you spend a good majority of your lifespan lying on a bed. Depending on your age and circumstances you typically spend 6-12 hours of a 24 hour period sleeping on a bed. This doesn’t count the potential time spent relaxing, reading a book, studying, etc. during the day time. Buying a mattress is certainly one of the more expensive investments when it comes to your health, it may be something you save up for, but if you’re able to make this switch, it can be so impactful for you and your family’s wellness.
Let’s break it down. Here are a few reasons why you might want to opt for an organic mattress versus conventional:
• CHEMICAL OFF GASSING
What is off gassing? This is the release of chemicals in the form of VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) into the air you breathe once you open your new mattress. They typically smell pungent and this is what people have termed “new mattress smell” or “new car smell”.
Off gassing mostly comes from mattresses made with polyurethane and synthetic foam mattresses. These are the material used by conventional mattress companies. Within these materials are chemical compounds that release into the air once you remove the plastic wrapping from your new purchase. The chemicals can range from, but are not limited to:
• Trichloroethane: This is used when making adhesives, inks & oil cleaners for metal car parts.
• Chlorofluorocarbons: a blend of chemicals used for refrigeration, packing, & aerosols. They have begun the process of phasing this out as it depletes ozone.
• Perfluorocarbon PFCs: a blend that contains carbon and fluorine that are used in solvents & oxygen tanks.
• Toluene: a solvent used to make adhesives, paint thinners, gasoline & rubber.
• Methylene: hazardous compound used in paint stripping, oven cleaners, & foam production.
• Naphthalene: chemical compound used in mothballs, plastics, insecticides & synthetic fibers in foams.
• Benzene: chemical compound used in detergents, plastics & dyes. Benzene is naturally released through fires and volcanoes. This is also the compound that creates the smell of gasoline.
• Formaldehyde: a cancer causing compound that is used mainly for preservation. The chemical used toe balm dead bodies.
The level of VOC’s that off gas after opening a new mattress reduces over time but a study has found that when sleeping on a mattress, heat can induce more off gassing past the six month mark. Children and Babies who spend more time on mattresses are more prone to toxic effects of these VOC’s over time. When you or your children heat up at night or sweat, this can create further toxic off gassing into your system.
Another form of chemicals that can leach into your bloodstream or your lungs that are used in manufacturing mattresses are fire retardants. These are chemicals that are intentionally sprayed onto the mattress itself to reduce the time it takes for the item to catch fire if your home was to burn down. While this is a good idea in theory, it comes with health risks. The reason for adding fire retardants to furniture and clothing in the world today is because furniture products are now made primarily with synthetic material that combusts and catches fire quicker than furniture and clothing that was made years ago. Real woods, metals and fabrics used to be used in manufacturing these products but companies changed this when they found that using cheaper synthetic material was more economical for their budgets. This means that they compromise quality, which creates hazards when it comes to potential disasters like house fires, which means they turn to spraying toxic chemicals to resolve this. So in actuality, you are getting a cheaper product AND you are getting a product laden with health damaging chemicals.
Then you have to weigh the risks, the amount of time you will spend lying on a mattress filled with toxic chemicals far outweighs the potential of a house fire occurring where furniture will set fire. Even then, we have protections in place such as fire alarms that direct us to leave the home prior to having to worry about your bed catching fire. Not to mention, natural fibres such as wool are often fire resistant (more on that below).
My suggestion is to find a mattress made with natural well sourced fibres that are not sprayed with fire retardant chemicals.
•COIL SPRINGS & EMF ATTRACTION
Did you know that coil springs will attract EMF radiation from wireless routers and other sources of EMF within and in range of your home? This means that these waves are directed right towards your body and is the close equivalent of carrying your cell phone against your person all day. It’s well documented that EMF radiation comes with major health impacts and reducing exposure wherever we can is paramount to our health.
“The problem of health effects of RF EMF has not been definitively resolved, but due to the results of previous research on possible health effect of RF EMF, it seems necessary to use precautionary principles and ALARA (As Low as Reasonably Achievable) principles, when the new sources of electromagnetic emissions will be planned and installed.” Bortkiewicz A. (2019).
In short, this means we should limit and reduce exposure to these frequencies as much as possible. By purchasing a bed without coils, you reduce the attraction of EMF radiation towards your body dramatically.
Important to note that just because a mattress company is organic or natural does not mean they are coil free. There are only a handful of companies that ensure this and Obasan is one of them.
• HIDDEN SYNTHETIC MATERIAL & ORGANIC CERTIFICATIONS
Did you know that in order to certify a mattress organic, it only requires 80% organic material? The rest is a free for all. Never fully trust an organic certification, they give an indication that a product is only a certain level of organic. It was interesting to see how many brands actually took that 20% leeway and used cheaper conventional ingredients to fill that quota without consumers being aware. They do not legally have to disclose this information, and they can just slap that “certified organic” label on their marketing package and keep the rest a mystery.
Many organic brands have been purchased to be cut open and see what is truly inside their product. It is staggering to see the amount of Organic mattress companies who are still using synthetic and conventional materials while marketing to consumers that they are 100% safe, natural, and/or organic. You really have to dig into the manufacturing process of each company and sometimes even then they have buried pieces of their manufacturing and materials. If they aren’t able to provide you with exact materials and their sourcing then I would be wary as they can withhold this information from you.
Choosing a Mattress/What to look for & Questions to Ask before you Buy
• organic certification/80% rule: dig into the company and their manufacturing process. Do they disclose any synthetic materials used or hidden within? Do they stand by all materials being 100% organic? Honesty from brands is certainly a hard thing to come by when they are trying to mask cutting corners in their product, but based on how detailed and general their responses are, you can sometimes guess at whether or not they are being transparent. Obasan was one of the only companies that were able to confirm that every inch of their product was organic and provide sourcing to each.
The lesson here is, you can never fully trust an organic certification as it does not necessarily suggest that the product is 100% organic.
• sourcing/materials used: further to this, where are they sourcing their materials from? Is it from areas known for producing top quality? Can they provide you sourcing information? Are they fair trade? Obasan sources globally and from different areas based on the material. They have done their research and searched the globe for top quality of every single material they use (full sourcing information found below in my full review).
• coil free (emf attraction): Is avoiding coils important to you? Have you dug into the impact of EMF radiation on the body? If you are searching for coil free, then your search will narrow once you notice how many organic companies still use coils within their mattresses. I personally opt for coil free and Obasan does not use this type of structuring within their mattresses at all.
• fire retardants/added chemicals: as we’ve discussed, not every organic mattress company is 100% organic, which means some synthetic materials within their product may still contain added chemicals which were either added during their creation in factory or afterwards. Were these materials sprayed for any reason? Were flame retardants added to materials before being shipped off to the mattress company prior to manufacturing your mattress? These are the concerns I have over companies who are not truly 100% organic.
When talking about conventional mattress companies, almost all of them practice chemical spraying of flame retardants before shipping off to the consumer.
Obasan Features: a Quick Checklist to reference
• lasts 20 years
• coil free
• 100% organic
• no synthetics, glues, toxic chemicals
• well sourced globally for top quality and purity
• breathes well (natural fibres breathe)
• mold and dust mite resistant
• naturally fire resistant (no chemical fire retardants used or required)
• hand made (by 15 people to be exact)
• Locally made since 1985
Obasan Organic Full Review
Now onto my personal review and experience with Obasan. I am reviewing four different pieces separately as you can buy them piece by piece and decide what works best for you and your family. I also added sourcing information for materials used within products.
Child Double Mattress
Okay, let’s get into my experience with the mattress itself. We have the children’s double organic mattress that features both medium and firm options. When you receive your child mattress, you can decide how to configure the mattress to opt for either firm or medium comfort. It’s very simple as the pieces are listed clearly on each side. The firm option is great for children who have just transitioned from their crib and want to stick with a firmer mattress for safer sleep. The medium side is softer but still firm enough in my opinion. We opted to sleep on the medium pressure and have loved it. I have no aches or pains and sleep so well throughout the night.
The mattresses are made from high quality 100% organic material. These materials are never synthetic and are sourced globally for their optimal quality. The mattress comes in two pieces of 3′ rubber layers. One layer is more firm and meant as the base layer to provide support. The second layer has the option for both medium and firm sides that you can flip to your preferred level of comfort. These two pieces are then kept together in a zipped casing that is made out of 100% cotton jersey and organic wool to ensure moisture control and temperature regulation. It’s easy to remove this casing to spot clean if necessary and it is naturally fire resistant thanks to the wool which means it’s completely toxin free. It’s also very easy to put together and I did this completely on my own. You can see my video on how I put this mattress together at the link here:
These mattresses are made to grow with your child. You won’t need to replace the bed for a different one when they become a teenager and they last 20+ years whereas other mattresses only typically last 8-9 years at most. The mattresses regulate temperature naturally throughout the night so if you have little ones who become hot at night, this won’t trap heat but rather this mattress has good air flow and temp control thanks to the natural fibres it is constructed with. I have found this to be completely true as both me and my son are furnaces when sleeping. Neither of us have felt as hot as we typically do at night. The temperature control is one of the best features.
Optimal sourcing from around the globe:
The organic wool is sourced in Patagonia, Argentina. Organic wool provides the following benefits:
- optimal moisture control
- Naturally fire resistant
- Natural mildew and dust mite resistant
- High shape retention (linger life span)
The organic rubber used is handmade in Sri Lanka which is known for its high quality organic rubber milk. This ensures long lasting mattresses due to optimal shape retention. Just like the wool, it is naturally dust mite and mildew resistant.
The organic cotton is sourced in the foothills of the Andes in Peru. It is ethically sourced and termed a “long lost staple of the Pima variety” which features the longest fibres.
You can read all about the quality of their hand made mattresses and the way they’ve sourced from some of the highest quality producing areas of the world. It’s impressive, but once you get to experience the mattress itself, you gain an even deeper appreciation for how well it is made. Your mattresses and organic sleep accessories are made by 15 of the most talented craftsmen and craftswomen. They make these pieces in house and locally in Canada. They never outsource during any steps of the manufacturing process.
To add to this, every single piece, no matter how big or small, is made to order just for you. The detail is unbelievable and they were very quick at putting this together. As soon as you put your order through they are busy starting the manufacturing process from scratch using their high sourced materials kept in house.
You can also shop for:
- Organic adult mattresses (all sizes)
- Organic pillow toppers to create a softer sleep if that’s your preference (this is what I will grab next)
- Organic Crib Mattresses for Baby
- Organic Sleep Accessories such as protectors etc.
Their options are endless and I am beyond impressed with every aspect of Obasan, including their amazing staff who make it very obvious that they are here to help you make the best choice. I have loved every dealing I have had with the company from the front desk answering the phones to their staff that ensure you are making the best choice for your family. They take the time to really educate, ask questions and share how passionate they are about safe sleeping. You are never rushed and every question is answered with the most detail and passion.
Shredded Rubber Pillows
Honestly, this pillow is the most comfortable pillow I have ever used in my entire life. It might sound silly and I’ve never really been picky about pillows, so I didn’t expect to notice much of a difference between this pillow to the next. It’s very soft and molds to your neck and head so you don’t feel too propped up and your neck is not ajar.
Then you get into the health impacts of this pillow versus other conventional options. This pillow is filled with shredded organic rubber sourced from Sri Lanka. This is because Sri Lanka is well known as the best source for high quality rubber milk. With good quality rubber you will see long term elasticity and shape retention. Natural rubber milk is sourced from the Para rubber tree and it’s then cooked slowly and steadily at low temperatures using what’s called “the Dunlop process”. This ensures quality, elasticity and shape retention which in turn means longer lasting. So much care has gone into this process of producing such a high quality product that is safe for you and your family to lie your head on.
* As you can see from the photo below, there is a double casing with pure organic shredded rubber within. You can remove some for your desired shape, but I kept it all inside. *
In addition to this rubber being the highest quality, it’s naturally mildew and dust mites resistant. This means you won’t be sleeping with your face against irritants or potential mold growth.
A sweet added touch is that they can stitch your child’s name into the pillow during manufacturing. I have one for each of my children and it is such a special touch.
Wool Mattress Protector
I have two children and one of the most useful products for children is a protective bed covering. Accidents happen and you don’t want to have to panic over the impact this has on an investment like a mattress. Many bed coverings come filled with toxic additives to prevent leaching of liquids and are sprayed with fire retardant chemicals. There are better options when it comes to mattress protection: natural wool.
Wool is naturally water repellant which means it will not allow liquids of any kind to hit the mattress below. Obasan created this mattress cover out of 100% organic wool which is much safer for your overall health. You or your family aren’t being exposed to synthetics and toxicants as you sleep.
* The photo directly below shows how easily it is to add the protector to a mattress. Elastic bands in each corner slide into place to keep the protector intact. *
The organic wool used by Obasan is sourced in Patagonia, Argentina. It repels water naturally as I’ve mentioned above, wool is also naturally fire resistant so there is no need for chemical fire retardants to be sprayed on the product. Conventional protectors and mattresses crafted with synthetic materials are required by law to spray these chemicals all over the product that you then sleep on every night. My suggestion is to opt for a natural option such as these protectors made of wool. This wool is also mildew and dust mite resistant which helps protect you and the mattress from mold growth or dust mite exposure.
It’s important to buy a bed frame that raises a natural mattress off of the floor. These mattresses are made to breathe and deter mold growth and dust mites. By placing a mattress directly on the floor you are disrupting the natural air flow throughout the materials within.
I opted to use Obasans bed frames as they are made ethically and with organic and natural materials. The legs shown in the photo above are actually made with wood from Canadian forests. The foundation is manufactured without the use of glues or synthetics and is high quality. It’s also aesthetically pleasing, I think they are just beautiful.
Obasan Foundations are hand crafted with the finest Quebec FSC wood. They are finished with the same organic cotton jersey as our mattresses and are padded with layers of organic wool. They are available in 4 and 8 heights and come with wood legs. -Obasan.ca
There are a variety of cover fabrics and heights to choose from and customize to your desired height and aesthetic. The assembly is simple as you only need to screw the wooden legs into the base and move it to the desired location of your bedroom.
For reference, My foundation is the double 8″ height with fabric in “studio knit”.
Specifically designed to support and extend the lifespan of your mattress, our customizable foundation provides the breathability needed for a perfect night’s sleep. -Obasan.ca
I am beyond impressed with every aspect of Obasan.
I spent two years digging into a variety of organic mattress companies and Obasan was at the top for their level of safety, their quality, their ethics, and their customer service. I was thrilled to be able to work with them and bring you a full review of their mattress and sleep accesssories. I want to make it very clear that they did not approach me or provide any expectations of what my review should say. As I said, I chose them after vetting a handful of organic brands after seeing how dedicated they were to providing a quality product. They are also such a transparent company with kind people working to produce some of the most special mattresses and accessories. When speaking with them you can hear how passionate they are about safe sleep. Being able to test this product showed me that their dedication turns out the most beautiful handcrafted non-toxic products. The attention to detail is incredible and I feel so safe having my little one sleeping on this bed. I will never purchase any other bed over Obasan for my household.
I highly recommend Obasan over any other brand. Have a look at their website and you will gain an understanding of how amazing they are. Customize your own mattress made to order just for you.
I promise you won’t be disappointed investing in this company.
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Bortkiewicz A. (2019). Health effects of Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields (RF EMF). Industrial health, 57(4), 403–405. https://doi.org/10.2486/indhealth.57_40